tv African Americans in Spokane CSPAN September 2, 2017 8:25pm-8:38pm EDT
it's been out a while and for this is in places book which has been out now and i'll have to go to paperback and i realized i was drawn to these places and they pulled me in by the power and the nature of what they are and how they have worked overtime and all i want to do is keep going back to them over and over and listen to them and see what i can get from them and the lesson is that everyone gets something different from the same person get something different from them if they are listening and paying attention each time they go back. it is endless with the story and it keeps changing as you circle back around. these are nonfiction essays or stories but they literally had more into the story world and their funny and fun. the people in them senses of humor and you can never predict where the action is going. nonfiction is just as wacky as fiction is and i like that.
i want the world to be unpredictable and not know what is happening tomorrow to overwhelm us with these kind of events. >> next up in spokane, washington dearly williamson show stories of the black families who arrived in spokane in 1899. >> my great-grandfather and my grandfather just what he was a boy the time were recruited from spartan, virginia to come on a tree up to laughlin, washington and they were to break a cool strike but they did not know that they were breaking a cold right. they thought they were coming for jobs. that caused a big furor at that time. there was a lot of problems in trouble with the miners and finally when it was all finished and they went to work in the mind. mind, that was a different story
but the mind petered out and they came to spokane, washington in seattle, portland, tacoma, places like that and they left rosslyn and that's how i came to spokane. that's my family, anyway. others came at that time, too. the name of the book is african-american in spokane. i decided to write because of my doctor and she knew that i had all of these pictures and things of that nature that we had gotten together for the spokane black pioneer centennial and washington state in 1989. she said that mom has all these pictures and why doesn't she put it into a book for which work she came back and told me and
that's what we did. because i've been a lifelong member of the spokane thing that he. we showed all these photos and they were great photos because most had not seen anything like that before. there was a black policeman from way back and there were soldiers at fort george and when they first came here and the different soldiers that came during the second world war and there were all kinds of pictures. there is something that no one had done or seen before. we had seen them but the community had not seen it. i didn't know what a struggle it was for the people to come from washington. i didn't know just what i have
been told it was hard to get jobs in the like that but those were things i didn't really know but i researched and found out that this was the case. and how much the churchman to everyone. i talked to people. they let me know that these people were always there and i got to know their feelings about how they felt about not being able to get jobs and these were older people and i was kind of young and i found out that they were being discriminated against. that's what i found out. there were two sides of town. there was the north side in the middle and on the south side.
they did not live way up on the south side because they worked up there and they worked in the holes and things like that but they did not live up there. it was that way for quite some time and when my family came here my father, worked for the national bank as a janitor and that's what most of the amended and like i said the women took in washing and cooking and serbia work, so to speak. you know there were soldiers that came in world war ii and the population was that is great here with the black committee but those soldiers liked what they saw and they went back after they got out of service and they brought their families back here and when the northwest exploded. i keep wanting to say african-americans but black people that they were not called african-americans back then.
they came back here to live and they enjoyed it. even though there was a lot of opportunity they still came back here. they made opportunities some of them. the thing that tied the community together was churches. everything seemed to be around the churches and the children, they went to church in sunday school and we had good leaders and the calvary baptist church calorie baptist church was the first church, black church here and the other church was a little later. they both and that is some of the pictures that were in the 1989 deal that we had here.
the church was everything. everything happened at the church. we couldn't go everywhere and we couldn't go to different places but the church provided things for us to do and for children and young people. i remember myself when i was young that the church was a big part of what happened with us. the davenport hotel -- it is different now and i have to say that because things have changed and ownership changed but at that time you couldn't get a job being black at the davenport hotel. sammy davis junior came and couldn't get a room and louis armstrong came here and he could not get a room at the davenport. louis armstrong got pretty a three and he went out to the
airport with his troop, band and all, and they went out to the airport and he was leaving and the promoters came and they had people waiting to hear louis armstrong so they went out there and they talked to said please, please, come back. he did and he had the show but he wasn't going to stand for that. i don't know whether -- i don't think he stayed there he stayed somewhere and came back into the show. but he was outraged at it. he took action about the civil rights movement. my goodness. it had an effect. we couldn't be there in march and martin luther king but our hearts and our minds and our soul were with them because we knew that whatever they did would reflect on what would happen with us. that was a very big thing for us. there were a few marches around,
too, college students marched at that time here in spokane and that was a big thing for them to do it. martin luther king was just everything to us. still is and he always will be. james chase was mayor in spokane, washington from 1982 to 1985 and he came here and he was head of the naacp at one time and he was a businessman and then he got to be mayor of spokane despite he was and what he did. he always spoke about later on in his life he came here on a freight train and became the mayor, the first black mayor of spokane washington. that was in the congressman.
he was charismatic and tall and good-looking and he was charismatic, had a nice family and all and he won people over by being on the city council and in being mayor. it was him. that's what his goal was and that's what he became. i mentioned how much james chase is meant to spokane but i can't say anything about him that i don't include his wife, elinor. her family was a very, one of the first families of spokane and she was by his side in helping him every step of the way and i want to mention her and her family because they were very important in spokane. [inaudible]
was our hero. i have to say he was our hero. he was the first black attorney here in spokane and he went to gonzaga university and he was a fighter in the ring at gonzaga. she was an orphan and he had a hard time getting anything done but that he decided he would become an attorney and he did. he wanted them to be treated right and to have jobs and be able to join the union -- things of that nature and to be treated like any other citizen. he was a very noble person who wanted things right for his people and all people. he wanted for all people but
that's why he became an attorney. he wanted to make a difference so that he and other kids didn't have to go to a home like he did. and they would have more of a chance and that's why he became an attorney. he wanted to make a difference so that other kids didn't have to go to home like he did. and they would have more of a chance. he was a great guy. we were not always seen that much but we were here. we have always been here. and we have accomplished many things and people might not have even known where calvary baptist church was or the other church was but we were here. people knew and they never came but we were always here